Mike Lata's Soft-Shell Crabs with Radish Salad

Cook these crustaceans before they crawl away
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Mike Lata's Soft Shell Crab
Photo: Dave Katz/ Tasting Table 

Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary knows his way around seafood—especially live soft-shell crabs, which are now in season. Lata keeps things simple, dredging them in a mix of cornmeal and Old Bay before panfrying them in a whole lot of butter. He serves the crisp, golden crabs with an herb salad that he refers to as a "deconstructed tartar sauce" made with cornichons, parsley, scallions and shallots.

To learn more, read "The Soft-Shell Hard Sell."

Soft-Shell Crabs with Radish Salad

Recipe adapted from Mike Lata, The Ordinary and FIG, Charleston, SC

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


For the Soft-Shell Crabs:

1 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons Old Bay

4 soft-shell crabs

6 tablespoons butter, divided

Kosher salt, to taste

For the Radish Salad:

12 cornichons, sliced lengthwise

6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups flat-leaf parsley

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 small shallot, very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste


1. Make the soft-shell crabs: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and Old Bay.

2. Lightly dredge the soft-shell crabs in the cornmeal mixture and set aside.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. When the butter begins to foam, working in 2 batches, fry the crabs, belly-side down. Cook, swirling the pan often, until the crabs are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the crabs, turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 2 crabs.

4. Transfer the crabs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and season with salt while they're still hot.

5. In a medium bowl, toss the cornichons, radishes, parsley, scallions, shallots, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt.

6. Divide the soft-shell crabs and radish salad among 4 plates and serve.

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